Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/23/13 at 09:59 AM ET
There’s a great hockey app on the market called “Shnarped” that was developed by two teammates from Princeton; Kyle Hagel (currently with the Portland Pirates) and Dustin Sproat (formerly of the Cincinnati Cyclones). We recently caught up with Dustin to discuss the Shnarped Hockey App…
Q: First off, what is Shnarped?
A: Shnarped is a hockey app designed to be a social network for the hockey community. It connects players, fans, agents, coaches, and managers of the sport we all love while providing them with the most relevant player stats, news and highlights. The most unique feature of Shnarped is “the pound” which is like sending a virtual fist-bump or tap on the shin pads to a player for a great game. If you send a pound to one of our over 300 verified pro players, they can send one back.
Q: Where did the idea for Shnarped come from?
A: It grew out of a charity I was doing with my co-founder Kyle Hagel called Hockey Players 4 Kids. We saw first hand how valuable player-fan engagement could be but we also faced a lot of challenges keeping up with all the players. We knew there had to be a better way to stay connected and track how our buddies were doing. That’s where the original idea for Shnarped came from and it’s grown into this fully featured hockey app.
Q: “Shnarped” is an unusual name, what does it mean?
A: Shnarped comes from the card game ‘Shnarps’ that the boys play on the bus or plane. It’s not something that many people outside of the team know about but we’re all about bringing the fans closer to the game.
Q: What type of hockey fan uses Shnarped?
A: People use the app for a variety of reasons. Fantasy hockey junkies like to set their tracking list with their team as an easy way to get news alerts and find out how they did each game. We’ve had numerous player agents use it to track all their clients. The players are some of our heaviest users as they track their buddies, especially the ones playing in the AHL and ECHL.
Q: What about kids?
A: Parents let their kids use Shnarped because we provide a youth friendly environment and filter out a lot of the negativity.
Q: Why would the readers of Kukla’s Korner specifically be interested in your app?
A: Kukla’s Korner is one of the major hockey news sites that doesn’t ignore the AHL. One of the major advantages of Shnarped is the ability to track a player wherever he plays. Let me give you an example of one of our verified players who is killing it right now for the Phoenix Coyotes – Rob Klinkhammer. In junior, he played on four different WHL teams and went undrafted. Over the next several seasons, Rob spent time in the AHL with Norfolk, Rockford and Binghamton and in the NHL with Chicago and Ottawa. Last year, Phoenix signed him and his strong play in Portland and Phoenix landed him a one way contract with the Coyotes. With Shnarped, it’s incredibly easy for fans or ex-teammates of his to keep up with how he’s doing and where he’s at now. He’s not a Twitter guy so when he has a two goal night for the Coyotes, Shnarped is the only way for all those fans he made in a city like Rockford to show him their support.
Q: I understand you’re going to be on CBC’s Dragons’ Den (Wednesday, October 30th at 8PM Eastern & Pacific), what was that experience like?
A: For those who don’t know, Dragons’ Den is the Canadian version of Shark Tank where you pitch your product to a group of investors. There’s actually a funny story about getting on the show that involves Brian Sutter delivering a calf.
Q: Really? I have to hear this…
A: Someone suggested auditioning for the show last April and that guy was going to do the pitch so I didn’t need to prep anything. The night before the pitch, I was in Red Deer playing hockey and I was planning to get a ride to the airport and fly out early. We were out and the boys were having a few, celebrating our playoff win, and we ended up in Brian Sutter’s barn. It was calving season so Brian was doing the rounds in the fields at 3AM and brought in a cow that was about to give birth. The captain of our team delivered this calf in front of us and I couldn’t get them to leave the barn because they wanted to wait until the calf could stand up. Finally it stood up around 6AM, I got to the airport in Calgary just in time for my 9AM flight back to Vancouver. There’s more to the story but basically the guy who was supposed to pitch the idea couldn’t make it and I was on my own but it worked out in the end.
Q: What do you have planned for the future of Shnarped?
A: We’re launching the Android version of Shnarped in the coming weeks. We are currently testing it and getting it ready for release. We’re adding college hockey with our next release and are currently working on major junior and possibly some European leagues.
Q: Where can people download the app and find out more about the company?
A: They can go to the Shnarped website which will take them to the App Store. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for the latest news and updates about the app or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking to get involved.
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